Are Styrofoam Containers safe?

EcopalMarch 19, 2011

O.K. Im ready to transplant my yung tomato plants to a container. But they can be expensive. Today I saw something I can use as one that is cheap. But it is made of styrofoam. I have been told that this can be dangerous in some way. Is this true?

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Well - heated styrofoam isn't safe, but I haven't heard of transplants having a problem. I use the red party cups from the dollar store.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 10:01PM
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Those may be O.K. to start seeds in but they are not deep enough to grow adult tomato plants.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 10:51PM
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I see - So the cheap answer is to get some 5 gal white plastic buckets from the local grocery store or restaurant. Donut shops are usually good sources. Then drill holes about 3 inches from the bottom on the sides. Then for looks sink the container in the ground. When you water it, some of the water will actually stick around for the plant. I don't use containers, but there are plenty of folks on this forum who are experts and are sure to chime in and give you the tips. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 6:45AM
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stuartwanda(N. Stuart)

Are you talking about a styrofoam ice chest? I don't think they would be harmful to your plant. Just don't cook in them.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 6:47AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

If you're concerned about toxicity, I'd avoid styrofoam for growing edibles.

If you're not easily embarrassed, you can often 'curb shop' empty nursery pots/buckets, &/or beg/scrounge from restaurants/delis/supermarkets.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 10:43AM
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I use the styrofoam containers raw fish is delivered in to restaurants and stores. I'm guessing it's about 10 gallons. They aren't too deep so it doesn't work for tomatoes/squash or peppers. The bush beans did well, sweet potato is going nuts in one and invasive herbs (mint, thyme, oregano) have room to spread out. I don't know about toxicity, but the thought of all the styrofoam in landfills makes me cringe. At least I know on hot summer days the roots won't cook like in black plastic.

Below are some pictures from a few months ago.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 8:33PM
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KaraLynn(z9 FL, Inverness, Citrus)

Some landfills have recycling bins for flower pots and are more then happy to let you take as many pots as you want for free. I know that the Citrus county landfill even lets you open the end door of the bin in order to dig though the pots for the best ones. I've even found clay ceramic, and, concrete pots, and lots of plant saucers of various sizes.

Some big box stores are also starting bins for recycling flower pots, I know that the Lowes here in Inverness is doing so. I'm just not sure if they'll let you take pots out of their bins.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 8:59AM
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